Despite some challenging circumstances, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver broke even, VANOC CEO John Furlong confirmed on Friday morning in Vancouver.
VANOC CEO John Furlong announced Friday that the operating budget for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver broke even.
Games officials said the $1.9-billion operation resulted in neither a surplus nor a deficit and the $603-million venue development program also came in on budget.
“We made a promise we would not leave behind an unpleasant final surprise, and we made that a priority throughout the Games,” said Furlong.
He said there were several challenges to balancing the operating budget for the Games, including the global financial crisis which cut corporate sponsorships, and an unseasonably warm stretch of weather that forced organizers to dump snow into one of the ski venues from helicopters.
“We chopped hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the project. It was very hard on morale for the team, but we did what we had to,” he said.
Furlong said if the Games had failed to generate as much money from corporate and government sources, VANOC would have cut costs further in order to balance its books.
But Furlong said he was proud that 91 per cent of the cost of operating the Games still ended up coming from non-government sources.
Governments contributed $187M
The provincial and federal governments ended up contributing about $187 million to the operating budget, but that figure does not include the cost of building the venues, the Olympic Village, transportation projects and security, which were also paid for by the two governments.
Furlong said the government money was used to target key areas such as the cross-Canada torch relay and the Paralympic Games, and “take them to a new level.”
Canadian speedskater Catriona Le May Doan lights the Olympic cauldron during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)
“It was the torch relay that gave every Canadian their connection to the Games,” said Furlong, while government money was used to support the Paralympics after those games failed to attract as much sponsorship as the Olympics.
Two other reports released by the provincial and federal governments earlier on Friday said the 2010 Olympics created more than 45,000 jobs and generated about $2 billion in real gross domestic product.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers conducted the studies, which looked at the impact the 2010 Games had on the province and on the country, finding they increased tourism spending by almost $500 million.
“Canada’s tourism brand is now No. 1 in the world,” said Furlong, crediting the exposure the Games gave the country internationally.
When asked about key memories from the Games, Furlong cited the commitment of volunteers and the closing ceremony, which included a humorous response to the failure of one of the arms of the torch to rise from the floor during the opening ceremony.
Yeah we didn’t loose money! Let’s do it again!!